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The Write Answer
By Judy Adourian
May, 2007, 07:55

How you earn money to pay bills is not the point - confidently express you're a writer.
If you had interviewed me fifteen years ago when I entered the “real world” as a college graduate, our dialogue would have gone something like this:

"What do you do for a living?"

"I work for an insurance company and do a little writing during my lunch hour."

"Have you been published in anything I would have read?"

"No. Well, yes, sort of, I mean, not in anything you would have read."

"Do you really think you can support yourself as a writer?"

"Dare I dream?"

From my answers, you probably wouldn't have guessed that creative writing was my passion. You'd never think that I'd written several poems, short stories, and plays – and that some of my work had appeared in small publications and on the college stage. If you were a publisher or had a connection to a publisher, you probably wouldn't think of passing along any networking information to me. Yet, fifteen years ago I was as determined to make a career out of free-lance writing as I am today.

So, why the bashful, self-deprecating answers?

Two reasons. First, like most creative people, deep down inside I'm introverted. Hard enough for me to brave rejection by the publishing world by submitting my "blood, sweat, and tears" manuscript, am I really such a glutton for punishment that I would readily open myself up to public criticism? Let's face it, anyone who can place words into a sentence believes he can write a book and, more frighteningly, believes he can make suggestions about mine.

Secondly, we artistic types often get asked well-intentioned yet intrusive questions from family and friends that can put one's already fragile ego to the test. Many times the words being asked wouldn't be nearly as damaging if said in a better tone – or at least by a total stranger. We could simply write them off as ignorant. But when it's Uncle Joe or good friend Beatty taking a stab at your vocation, the jab draws blood. Besides, has Uncle Joe ever asked a doctor, "Have you ever done any surgeries I would have seen?" Or "Do you really think you can support yourself as a doctor?" Even my "day job" as a personal life insurance customer representative didn't elicit the same interrogation that my writing caused.

So, how do we change public opinion and convince the world that the occupation of free-lance writer requires just as much discipline, dedication, and skill as any other occupation? If you're like me and you're serious about your calling as a writer, you’ll reply to such prickly questions with the "write' answer.

"What do you do for a living?"

"I am a writer." That's right, just say it. Even if the job that pays the bills is that of a customer service representative, answer with your passion: I am a writer. Even if your novel has been rejected by one hundred publishers – answer: I am a writer. Even if you don't yet believe you are (especially if you don't yet believe you are) – answer: I am a writer. The more you say it, the stronger your conviction will become and, in turn, the truer a reality it will be.

"Have you been published in anything I would have read?"

"Currently, I am pre-published." This is a truthful and positive declaration that not only allows the questioner to know you're serious but also invites future cosmic opportunities into your life. Before long, you'll be able to change your answer to, "Buy a copy of this magazine (newspaper, anthology, chapbook, novel, etc.) and you can read something I've written."

"Do you really think you can support yourself as a writer?"

"That's what I'm working toward." Again, this statement shows forward thinking genuine intention that will attract the success you desire.

Above all, remember this: you determine what success means to you. Today’s success might be to answer, "I am a writer," without cracking your voice. Tomorrow's success might mean finishing the first draft of a novel. Success a year from now might mean physically being able to send a manuscript to a publisher.

Take pride in each accomplishment you set for yourself. Celebrate each step on your creative path. Answer every question you’re asked with sincere purpose. Create your "write" answers and enjoy the "write" success.

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Judy L. Adourian is the owner of Writeyes, the Executive Editor for NEWN magazine, and the Rhode Island Regional Representative for the International Women's Writing Guild. She is currently developing an innovative workshop based on her philosophy of cross-crafting and multi-marketing. She can be reached through her website at

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